Lady Audley’s Secret

Lady Audley’s Secret

by

Mary Elizabeth Braddon

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Lady Audley’s Secret: Volume 3, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two years pass. Mr. Audley has built his rustic cottage upon a river, on whose banks an eight-year-old boy now plays with a toddler. Mr. Audley has made a successful career as a barrister. Georgey Talboys is still at school but often comes to the cottage to visit George, who lives there with Clara and Mr. Audley. Alicia and Sir Michael, having survived the latter’s grief, also come visit the cottage.
The narrator now refers to Robert as “Mr. Audley” to show that he is a mature adult involved in society. Robert is now living a more modest, middle-class life, having become unconcerned with the decadence of the upper class.
Themes
Women and Power in Victorian England Theme Icon
Poverty and Wealth Theme Icon
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A year before, Robert Audley received a letter announcing the death of Madame Taylor after a long illness. Sir Harry Towers also comes to visit the cottage, and everyone enjoys each other’s company on summer evenings.
The plot neatly removes Lady Audley from the narrative, so that all the other characters can live a peaceful, happy life free from her corrupting deception.
Themes
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Audley Court is empty except for a “grim old housekeeper” in place of Lady Audley. A curtain has been hung over Lady Audley’s portrait. The housekeeper shows visitors through the lady’s rooms. The visitors “ask many questions about the pretty, fair-haired woman, who died abroad.”
Audley Court represents the relics of the upper class, antiquated ideals that are no longer useful to society, but people still revisit and talk about. The gossip of the visitors shows the element of scandal essential to a sensation novel.
Themes
Poverty and Wealth Theme Icon
Sir Michael lives in London until Alicia marries Sir Harry, and then he lives on his son-in-law’s estate. George lives happily with Clara and Mr. Audley and may even find someone to ease the pain of his first marriage. Robert has given away his novels.
Both Alicia and Robert, who once defied the gender roles of their society, have normalized themselves through heterosexual marriage, thus allowing for peace in their lives according to the novel’s values.
Themes
Women and Power in Victorian England Theme Icon
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The narrator ends the novel by stating, “I hope no one will take objection to my story because the end of it leaves the good people all happy and at peace.” The narrator states that she may not have been very experienced in life, but she believes the righteous are not forsaken.
The narrator states an optimistic, romantic worldview which argues that those who commit deception will be punished and those who are dedicated to the truth will be rewarded in life.
Themes
Women and Power in Victorian England Theme Icon
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Poverty and Wealth Theme Icon
Related Quotes